Best Buy laid off hundreds of workers this week as the electronics company continues to streamline its business and cut costs.
A Wall Street Journal story reported that many of the store workers whom the electronics retailer let go are called consultants and sell more complex products, such as computers and cellphones.
“We’re evolving our stores and the experiences we offer to better reflect the changes in customer shopping behavior, as well as how we organize our teams to ensure we continue to provide our expertise, products and services in the best way possible,” a Best Buy spokesman said in a statement Friday.
Since the start of the pandemic, the Richfield company has reduced its head count as company leaders said customer behavior has evolved, including more consumers buying products online. Throughout the past three years, Best Buy’s employee numbers have declined by approximately 25,000 people — or 20% — partly from shuttering about 70 large-format stores, which equated to 7% of its portfolio.
“We have been optimizing our store staffing model to reflect the changes in customer shopping behavior and to fuel investments in higher wages,” Best Buy CEO Corie Barry said last month during the company’s earnings call with analysts.
In reporting its earnings from this past fiscal year, Best Buy also announced its plans to close 20 to 30 of its larger stores this fiscal year. It also said it expected to close an average of 15 to 20 stores each year after that.
Best Buy has tested several different store formats and has cross-trained employees to be able to do several different tasks within their stores. The company has said some of the changes will allow stores to add thousands of customer-facing employees as it creates more elaborate customer experiences in its stores.
Best Buy representatives said the company is working with employees who have lost their jobs to ensure they know of new opportunities available within the company.
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